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Creative and Data: Which One Is the Chicken or the Egg?

Posted 11 August 2015 9:00 AM by Nica Russell @MoxieUSA, @IamNicaRussell

Data has always played a role in advertising — even in those Mad Men, golden-age-of-creativity days. The only thing that’s changed today is the specificity and sheer volume of it.

Instead of simply telling you the gender, age and income of your target consumer, today’s analytics paint a much more elaborate and detailed picture. Political leanings, musical preferences, favorite hobbies, hair color and even your target’s preferred brand of jeans can be gathered and compiled to create a profile. Basically, analytics has the ability to find out just about any information imaginable — so long as that person has agreed (either actively or passively) to provide it.

The impression, once king, has been dethroned. In today’s crowded marketplace, consumers are bombarded with over 100 marketing messages a minute, so it doesn’t matter how many people see your TV spot or your banner ad. Engagement is the new standard, and downloads, clicks, follows, likes, favorites, posts and hashtags are the new currencies.

So what does that mean for agencies? Well, it means that they can no longer be creative for creativity’s sake. Gone are the days of “we’re running this campaign because it’s the one my wife liked.” Today, agencies need to be able to gather, interpret and weigh data to explain to clients which elements of a campaign are working and — even more specifically — what type of actions they are driving.

And what does this increased focus on data and analytics mean for the future of creative? Well, it’d be natural to assume that it might play an ever-shrinking role, but that’s not the case. In fact, it’s the real-time data that analytics provide that allows creative to be more nimble. If a campaign isn’t resonating with the target audience, it can be adjusted on the fly. And the best part? Increased metrics lead to deeper, more meaningful consumer insights, making clients more likely to test new ideas. And that’s something that every agency can get behind.

Bottom line — analytics are not something to be feared but embraced — especially from a creative standpoint, where the union of the two is fueling the next generation of smarter, more effective advertising.


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